Las Vegas -- There are many weird yet pricey offerings at the 2012 International CES, but none more so than in the robot section of the consumer electronics show.
Marked by a Justin Bieber appearance, TOSY Robotics unveiled an incredibly underwhelming robot toy on Wednesday that will undoubtedly retail for far too much money. The Bieber appearance drew one of the largest crowds of the entire CES 2012 -- including way, way too many shrieking women -- but managed to mostly disappoint with technological issues and little innovation.
TOSY Robotics, a Vietnamese technology company, likely generated a lot of hype and interest in its products through the Bieber appearance, though it mostly disappointed on Wednesday.
At least TOSY will get press for its product. It is under the radar robots like PARO and OTTORO that truly take the cake in Sin City.
The OTTORO marketed the world's alleged first air purifying robot cleaner in Las Vegas. The company claims that the cleaner is capable of removing viruses, mold, mites, and allergen through ion shower. An OTTORO salesman told the International Business Times that what separates the cleaner from other similar products on the market is that it is one of the few to take away the bad air and replace it with good air.
That's a natural characteristic of an air purifier, but OTTORO claims that it is special by doing cleaning and still putting good, clean air onto the floor. The cleaning robot is certainly interesting, but yet another example of a product that doesn't distinguish too much from the competitors.
The cleaning robot doesn't come close to the level of fail that surrounds the PARO therapeutic robot, though.
The therapeutic robot capitalizes on hospitals that disallow animal therapy by convincing unknowing hospitals to purchase extremely expensive seal robots. The seal robots are incredibly unimpressive with their little movement, but it is the high price tag that truly makes the product head scratching.
The company charges a whopping $200 per month to adopt the relatively worthless toy. The seal robot has likely benefitted some sickly patients -- the company showcases a video of the robot with an Alzheimer's patient -- but the hefty price tag makes it unreasonable for your neighborhood hospital or nursing home to purchase the product.
Even worse is that even after renting the product for many months, it still is incredibly expensive to purchase. For instance, if you rented the product for $200 a month for six months, it would still cost you $4,800 to buy it on your own.
The primary appeal of the robot, according to the company, is that it reacts to five kinds of sensors: tactile, light, audition, temperature, and posture sensors. Although it is interesting that it can sense your stroke and react accordingly, it is extremely hard to justify spending so much money on such a relatively unnecessary product.